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Word of the Day : February 8, 2012

prescind

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verb prih-SIND

Definition

: to withdraw one's attention

Examples

If we prescind from the main issue for a moment, there is much to be gained by studying some corollary questions.

"For my purposes, we may happily prescind from the metaphysics." -- From John Collins' 2011 book The Unity of Linguistic Meaning



Did You Know?

"Prescind" derives from the Latin verb "praescindere," which means "to cut off in front." "Praescindere," in turn, was formed by combining "prae-" ("before") and "scindere" ("to cut" or "to split"). So it should come as no surprise that when "prescind" began being used during the 17th century, it referred to "cutting off" one’s attention from a subject. An earlier (now archaic) sense was even clearer about the etymological origins of the word, with the meaning "to cut short, off, or away" or "to sever." Other descendants of "scindere" include "rescind" and the rare "scissile" ("capable of being cut").

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